Sunday, 10 February 2013

Winterfleur brooch

magical magnification in a quiet corner
Like all design ideas, this one has several starting points. The first was an element of the piece I made for the Battle of the Beadsmith on line 'competition'. The brooch had a scorpion, about to eat a butterfly, and a segment of dried flower petals to represent the arid places that are the natural habitat for scorpions... and to deal with the mechanism of the brooch.

There are moments when light, time and surroundings give us a gift. This was the case when I went to visit the American Museum at Bath just before Christmas. It is a winter treat that I look forward to, the staff decorate the various rooms, in keeping with their period. It is  a lovely way to spend a winter afternoon and I usually come away having been gently inspired.
This time, it was by a collection of paintings of the dark interiors of Winterthur house, begun in 2012 by the British artist Michael John Hunt. Winterthur is an estate, nestling in the rolling hills of the Brandywine River Valley of Northern Delaware. The mansion has 175 rooms filled with thousands of objects made and used in America between 1640 and 1860. 
Hunt's paintings are exquisite studies, you can just feel those timeless rooms on a winter day, your eye picking out treasures as you wander from painting to painting. It is a magical way to view his work in the setting of the museum here in England.

Winterfleur on my Susan Holton scarf
The experience set off a trickle of thoughts about time, stillness, dust motes in the winter air. About how museums take ordinary every day objects and consign them to a frozen in time still life. Polished, cherished and used as a magnifier of a bygone era.
I loved the sober, soft and timeless colours in the paintings too, I loved the way the paintings perfectly reflected the polished wood stillness of the museum I was walking around. Like a magnifying glass to focus the eye. Who knows how the mind connects such disparate dots to bring ideas together, but once home, out came the beads, some clear glass cabochons and the Winterfleur brooch grew in my hands.
It makes me happy to wear it on the knitted scarves and collars I am swathed in throughout winter.

I have the pattern for Winterfleur in the shop at last as a pdf download, a printed pattern or as a kit in three muted but hopefully desirable colourways.

Winterfleur in
Ginger silk top left, Blue Violet top right
and Linden bronze bottom centre
Don't you just love the 1970's china!
and Rosemary from the garden